By now you already know most of the details of the quarter of a billion (with a “b”) dollar lawsuit New York attorney general Letitia James announced Wednesday against Donald J. Trump. You know that his nefarious children, Don Junior, Ivanka and Eric are also part of the suit. You know that they each committed a long catalog of crimes including falsifying business records, issuing false financial statements, committing insurance fraud, engaging in conspiracies to violate state laws and so on, all in order to generate profits and unjustly enrich themselves. That much you know.
Like me, I expect you also found the recitation of those crimes immensely satisfying. It felt like six years of helplessly watching Donald Trump’s open contempt for the law, for the American people and anyone else not named Donald Trump had finally come to an end, had come, as it were, home to roost.
Not only that, it felt like the merest tip of the very big iceberg of Donald Trump’s legal troubles. It felt like, as bad a day as Wednesday may have been for Trump and his disgusting progeny, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. It felt like for Trump and his smug and arrogant brood, the best (as Don Junior’s girlfriend Kimberly Guilfoyle once put it) is yet to come.
But as good as all that was, the best part for me was what Letitia James said two thirds of the way through her announcement — some 30 of the most glorious minutes of my life. The best part was when she said, “I want to be clear, when the well-connected break the law, to take in more money than they are entitled to, it reduces resources to working people, to regular people, to small businesses and all taxpayers.” We needed to be reminded that Trump didn’t just break the law, he hurt us while he did it. He isn’t a smart businessman. He’s a crook who stole from you and me.
Ms. James reminded us that white collar crime is not victimless crime. She pointed out that little people can’t lie to their banks about how much money they are worth and get away with it. She pointed out that the rest of us are all powerless next to the monied interests of the super rich.
In other words, the things Donald Trump bragged about throughout his flimflam presidency were crimes against us. They weren’t even clever crimes. He called black white and up down and the banks believed him because of who he was. This errant trust we place in the super rich, or the supposed super rich, must come to an end.
I hope this marks the beginning of a grand unraveling of perception. People like Trump aren’t “clever,” they aren’t Gordon Geckos, they aren’t financial magicians pulling rabbits out of hats. They are criminals. Contemptuous criminals. And they deserve what they get in the end. Not a glorious retirement to bask in their lifetime of achievements, but endless trouble, countless lawsuits, numerous criminal investigations and positively no rest for the wicked.
They weren’t content merely to steal from us. They also had to pretend like they were somehow better than us for getting away with it. Well now they know the truth. We had to endure years of abuse from these awful people. Our time has come at last. And, as ever, ladies and gentlemen, brothers and sisters, comrades and friends, stay safe.
Robert Harrington is an American expat living in Britain. He is a portrait painter.